Connelly Offers Openness Pledge

Published 4:56 pm Tuesday, August 14, 2012

FARMVILLE – Longwood University's interim president, Marge Connolly, pledged, during comments to Town Council this month, transparency and cooperation.

“I'm committed to identifying those things that can bring the town and the university closer together in a way that is mutually-beneficial and I thought that the best way was just to show up,” she said, explaining her appearance to speak during the public comment portion of council's regular August meeting.

“I want you to know my door is open. My phone line is open. And my staff, they're available. We want to engage. We want to engage on more things, more frequency and work together for the common good,” said Connolly, who served on Longwood's Board of Visitors for eight years and assumed interim president duties on July 1.

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“I absolutely believe that one of our key responsibilities is to figure out how to bring to bear those capabilities in a way that benefits our community,” she said, adding, “I'm sure, I'm positive, I know we can do more and I've only been on the job eight weeks so I can't answer the question of what more and what might that look like…”

But she wants to keep a dialogue going between the Town and the campus.

“Our presence is both beneficial and then it can be disruptive, there's no question about that. Our desire to grow can bring in additional opportunities for the community, and yet can be disruptive. And we've got to communicate on these kinds of things,” Connolly said.

“We need to get together, we need to sit down and talk and we need to be as transparent as we possibly can in order to minimize any negative impacts,” Connolly continued.

“I would like to see us sit down and share that stuff as early as we possibly can. In all candidness,” she told Town officials, “I don't even know what kinds of things might have an impact, in many cases, so I need to err on the transparent side because there could be things that actually do have an implication. I'm just not familiar enough with things to be able to see that. I'd like to. I think the best way to do that is engage.”